1 John 3:11-18

TRUE LOVE – A.M. 1/30/05

Real Christianity #12 (1 John)


When true love is present it is a giving, special kind of love.

It is a love that demonstrates the feelings of the heart with action in the life.

Here are three brief examples of true love:


The new nature a believer in Christ has is the nature of God, the nature of Christ.  Part of that nature of God that we believers receive is that of true love, agape love, the highest form of love.  The passage we studied last ended in verse 10.

1 John 3:10 - In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.


One who does not love his brother is not of God. He does not have God’s nature, the new nature. The one who does love his brother is born of God and does have a new nature.

This week we want to look at 1 John 3:11-18, where we find the characteristics of true love.  These characteristics should be present in your life if you profess to know Jesus as your Savior. So let’s look at the characteristics of true love:  




1 John 3:11 - For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.


The Apostle John is the human author of this Epistle. He was one of the first to follow Jesus as a disciple. John, an old man now, looks back to the days of his youth and remembers the teaching that Jesus gave “from the beginning”.  He probably remembered what Jesus said the night before he died.   

John 13:34-35


Jesus gave the standard here.  We are to love each other as Jesus has loved us. 

How much did Jesus love us? This much (stretch out hands)! When he stretched out his arms and let soldiers place the nails in his hands, and allowed them to crucify Him for our sakes, that was love!

Philippians 2:5-8


Now Jesus says, as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.   


And what did Jesus say would be the result of our love for one another?


John 13:35 - By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.




John gives us a type of attitude to reject.  He gives us a negative example.


1 John 3:12 - Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous.


You’ve probably heard the story of Cain and Abel, the sons of  Adam and Eve.


They both brought sacrifices to God.

Abel brought a lamb as a sacrifice. This is what God had prescribed.  

Cain brought vegetables from the garden.  This was not what God prescribed.


God accepted Abel’s sacrifice and rejected Cain’s.


As a result, Cain get angry.

So God told Cain in Genesis 4:6-7 - Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? [7] If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.


All Cain had to do was what was right, and God would have accepted him just as He did Abel.   


What was behind the hatred of Abel, and his subsequent murder? It was jealousy or envy. His brother’s works were righteous, accepted by God, and his were not.


Cain was jealous because God had accepted Abel’s sacrifice and not his own.


The pattern has not changed today.  People who are not righteous still hate those who are righteous because they are jealous.


1 John 3:13 - Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.


It is possible for us to fall occasionally into the jealousy trap, even as Christians.


According to verse 12, true love does not act like Cain.

True love is not jealous.


1 John 3:14 - We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.


We are talking habitual behavior in this verse.

If we have passed from death into life by being born again, by placing our faith in Jesus Christ for forgiveness and eternal life, we have a new pattern of behavior. 2 Corinthians 5:17


As part of our new pattern of behavior, we will show true love for the brethren.  The person who does not show a pattern of true love for his brother is abiding in death.

That means the person who constantly hates someone has never been saved, born again!   


We are to reject hatred and embrace love!

1 John 3:15 - Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.


Cain was guilty of murder.  But this verse says that a person who hates his brother is guilty of murder! 

How could John say this?   

He could say this because of what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount.

Matthew 5:21-22


Anger without a cause meant judgment.

Calling someone an “empty headed fool” meant someone could go before the “supreme court” of the day, the Sanhedrin.

Calling someone a “cursed fool” puts a person in jeopardy of God’s judgment.


Hatred is murder that takes place in the heart.

Hating your neighbor and murdering him are equivalent sins in their motivation.

The difference is, the murderer has taken further action.


True love rejects hatred and opts to forgive. Ephesians 4:26-27


This means, Christian, there should be no room for hatred, for grudges, for permanent hard feelings. If you are truly saved, you will be forced to deal with these difficulties properly.

Ephesians 4:31-32


We are to forgive as Christ has forgiven us.  That kind of forgiveness is to be total.




1 John 3:16 - Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.


Are there ever days when you wonder if God loves you?

When these days come, take a good, long look at 1 John 3:16.


How do we know that God loves us?

Because Jesus Christ gave the supreme sacrifice for us!

He gave the greatest gift of all! One that went to the cross and died for us!


How do you know that a Christian loves you, or that you love another Christian?

We know true love when we are willing to lay down our lives for others, or others are willing to lay down their lives for us.


Most of us will make some sacrifices for others.  We might even give some of our blood.  But I wonder, would we lay down our lives for other Christians.

It’s easy to say that we would sacrifice our lives for others, but unless the last characteristic of love is true for you, chances are you won’t. 




1 John 3:17 - But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?


It seems to be that John is saying, “Don’t say that you’ll lay down your life, if you won’t lay down your wallet!”


True love shares what it has with others.

That’s what we were trying to do this morning when we took the offering for the tsunami victims.     


John says that the one who has something to share, and doesn’t share it does not have the love of God dwelling in him. James 2:15-16, Ephesians 4:28


True love does not hoard, or invest only in personal pleasures. It shares with those who need it.


1 John 3:18 - My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.


Words are cheap. It costs very little to say, “I love you.”

It costs a whole lot more to live “I love you.”

It’s not wrong to tell someone that you love them.

It’s wrong to tell someone you love them and stop there!


The one who truly loves you sees your love in your actions.

You have reached out to them.







Elaboration on a previously shared outline